Technology & World Change

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Industrial-Technological Revolutions:
I – Subsistence farming Manufacturing (Division of labor) II – Mass production (Rise of machines)
III – Services & information (Artificial intelligence)

Industrial Revolution I
- 18th – 19th century (1750~1850)
- Steam engines Pumps for coal mines
- Manufacturing
Division of labor Specialization Increase efficiency
‘Cottage industries’
KIV: Trading
- Train transport (e.g. Steam train), heavy industries
- Rise of the middle classes Political movements, workers’ unions, etc. Upper class: Landowners, Factory owners, Nobility
Middle class: Derive income from manufacturing & providing services (other than farming) Working class

Industrial Revolution II
- Late 19th – mid 20th century
- Mechanical mass production Mass consumption Quality
- Crossover human diseases picked up from newly domesticated animals Close proximity with animals
- Famines from crop failures/pests
Concentrated area Higher concentration of pests
Farming only source of food Decrease in flexibility
Increase in population density Increased demand for food

Iron/Steel: What you need?
- Early mining
- Discovery of smelting at high temperatures Reduction of oxidized iron ore Knowledge of chemistry required (Oxidation & reduction)
- Technology involved: Furnace
- Certain division of labor and tools
Trading iron for food, etc.

Iron/Steel: What you get?
- Iron age begins: By ca. 1600-1200 BCE in Asia Minor
- Metal > Stone: Hard + Easier to mold into desired shapes
- Better cutting, armory, cannons and guns

Steel: What you also get?
- Much more effective weaponry and wars
- BUT, heavy industrial pollution

Evidence of Doubt: Patchy Adoption of Farming
- Not universally adopted everywhere
- Patchy adoption starting ca. 8500 BCE
- Farming not necessarily an advantage
Early farmers were often shorter, less well fed than hunter-gatherers “Paradox of food production”
Higher food production Higher vulnerability to famine
Dependence on climate, fertility, crop diseases
Dependence on one patch of land Higher density

Evidence of Doubt: The Mode of Food
Production as an environmental choice
- Criteria:
Quality of food
Reliability of supply
Productivity of supply

Evidence of Doubt: So why switch at all?
- Decline in natural crops & game animal
- Warming climate Domesticable plants
- Development of food processing technologies
- Population expansion parallel with increased food production

Farming – Conditions
- Suitable domesticated plants, e.g. grassy, fast growing species - Advanced food processing technologies

Agriculture Was Not On Land
but in the cities…
- Trade
- Organized society
- Departure from subsistence farming towards surplus
- Division of labor including “luxury” occupations and designs - New tools & downstream products Increased productivity

Consequences of Agriculture and Its Effects
- Raised carrying capacity of the land
- Double edged sword: Limit of max. population higher BUT consequences more severe - Crossover diseases from farm animals
- Ecological destruction of farmlands through poor farming practices Salt accumulation in soils/deforestation/loss of topsoil

Reading: “Guns, Germs & Steel” by Jared Diamond
Positive:
- Productivity
- Stability
- Establishment of permanent communities
- Efficiency Tools
- Increase in population

Negative:
- Uncertainty
- Less nutrients
- (Population) Displacement
- More hours of labor
- Food shortage

Bottom-line:
- Technologies come with trade-offs
Agriculture vs. Nomadism (mobility)
- Not all consequences are positive
Food supply less diverse, few stable crops, etc.
- Societies become more dependent on them
- “Technology push, Demand pull”
Demand for specialized and novel tools
Push towards applications that previously unable to do

Reading: Schilling Textbook Chapter 2: Sources of Innovation

Reading: “The Nature of Technology” by W. Brian...
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